FAREWELL: Cranes Skipper Denis Onyango Retires


Kampala – Uganda Cranes skipper – Denis Masinde Onyango has officially quit the national team.

Onyango made the public announcement on Monday through his twitter handle.

“I sit here with tears rolling down my eyes because after a lengthy consideration I have come to the decision of retiring from international football, with immediate effect,” wrote Onyango on his twitter handle.

The untimely retirement comes days after the shot-stopper had purportedly released a voice message –that’s making rounds on the various social media platforms – swearing how he would never feature for the national team (again) – as long as Eng. Moses Magogo was still the FUFA president. The Fufa boss, recently angered many footballers as well as fans after he described the national team that Afcon Chan finals as playing ‘shitty football – and therefore didn’t deserve a penny – possibly as another former Uganda Cranes players – Sulaiman Mutyaba was demanding.

“After much consideration, my family, managers and I, decided it was in my best interest to hang my gloves on my beloved Cranes. Big thanks to every Ugandan over the years,” he continued.

“It is a sad day in my life knowing that I will never wear the jersey of my beloved Cranes in front of passionate fans, again. I will now become the number one supporter who wears the jersey watching from the stands or from home. It is through the Ugandan national team that I have grown from a boy into the man and father that I am now.

“For all the success that I have enjoyed in my career I owe so much of it to the national team. It was because of my national team that I got to play against with all the best players from across the continent who play in top leagues all over the world,

“I played at the Afcon finals because of The Cranes. The joy of being at the Afcon finals after so many years was sweet. To sing my national anthem was the greatest joy that I will ever have being the ‘proud boy’ from Uganda that I am.

Uganda Cranes Captain Denis Onyango (left) and former head coach Sebastian Desabre (right), with President Museveni. (PHOTO/File)

“I didn’t want to retire but I felt it is better to leave good memories and allow for the younger goalkeepers to compete for that jersey which I have worn with pride for 16 years. Everyone who has worked with me knows how much I enjoyed playing for the national team. My commitment and hard work were never in question. To everyone that I worked with especially coach Milutin Sredojevic – Micho thank you for the patience, understanding and wisdom that you brought to me.

“To my friends, management of the Federation of Uganda Football Associations, Nsambya FC and SC Villa, teammates, managers, coaches, I say thank you.

“My biggest appreciation is to the fans and all the people of Uganda. I love you all. Football can never be as beautiful as it is without fans. Nothing can ever be better than captaining your national team. It was real. Salute to every Ugandan,” concluded Onyango.

Onyango who turns up for South African giants – Mamelodi Sundowns captained Uganda twice –in 2017 and 2019 at the Afcon finals, where The Cranes made a return after more than four decades.
And Onyango’s retirement comes two days after another former skipper – Hassan Wasswa Biruma, officially threw in the towel after 13 years of service. Wasswa too, had in a twitter criticized Fufa for ‘disrespecting’ players.

Uganda’s next competitive football will be in June when The Cranes play in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers against Kenya’s Harambee Stars, Mali as well as Rwanda are in Group E.

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